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Yoga Meets Life’s Essential Questions

Tapping into Our True Nature

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In 1972, I experienced a profound spiritual awakening and went into seclusion to focus on my inner growth. This awakening helped me see that I’m not my mind—I am the observer of my mind. I watched this chattering mind creating an obstacle to self-realization and true happiness. I also came to realize another clear truth: The outside world isn’t personal. It’s unfolding according to all the forces that have taken place from the beginning of creation. Call it science or the will of God—it doesn’t matter. What matters is we didn’t do it, and it isn’t supposed to match what we want. When we see this, we can transcend the limited mind and embrace the true nature of our being.

We’ve each developed personal likes and dislikes resulting from life experiences that have left good or unfavorable impressions within us. These impressions determine how we view the world, and they limit our ability to enjoy life. We can begin learning how to release these impressions by letting go of the little things that irritate us for no reason—like the weather or someone’s attitude. We have a tendency to resist uncomfortable feelings, so we try to fix and control our environment. A commitment to yoga demands that we let go of our personal reactions and use each experience in life to go beyond our comfort zone.

The science of yoga is centered on realizing the essential self—the one within who is simply aware. It comes from thousands of years of enlightened beings devoting their lives to the questions: “Who am I? Why do my thoughts and emotions change so much?” This inquiry helps us find the true self inside, the self beyond personality and the mind’s fears and opinions.

Progress happens through cultivating awareness. The simplest approach is to ask: “Who is in here looking through these eyes and experiencing this world?” Don’t try to answer. Just relax back into the essence of your being—the one who sees—and experience life from this place of awareness.

When we’re clear and comfortable with who we are inside, life becomes beautiful—regardless of what is going on around us. We can then help raise the world for the better. There is freedom and peace in that.


Michael A. Singer, author of The Untethered Soul, is founder of the Temple of the Universe yoga and meditation center, in Alachua, Florida.


This article appears in the September 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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